Fact or Fiction: Joe Milton is a Power Five quarterback
National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
1. Joe Milton is a Power Five quarterback.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. It’s time for Milton, who has entered the transfer portal, to take a step down – perhaps a big one. Milton has always had a huge arm, but accuracy was the question coming out of high school and he was rated high out of high school because of his ceiling as he didn’t put up great numbers. Now that Michigan has given him a shot and it failed, he should look for a Group of Five or FCS team in the Southeast if he wants to play quarterback. Michigan took a shot on his potential and it didn’t work. Other Power Five teams won’t do the same.
Gorney’s take: FACT. We have to go back about a decade, if not longer, to find a Michigan quarterback who really excelled and lived up to expectations. So, in part, this is Milton’s fault but coach Jim Harbaugh and even those before him did not exactly develop elite players at that position. The combination of Milton’s size, arm strength and mobility make him a special player, so if he can work on his accuracy and making better decisions then he can definitely play Power Five football. There are a lot of coaches who maximize the abilities quarterbacks have. That did not happen for Milton at Michigan, but it could somewhere else in a major conference.
Transfer Tracker: Milton enters portal
2. Greg Schiano will keep more players home, thanks to Anthony Johnson.
Farrell’s take: FACT. Johnson is a big get for Rutgers as he had some big-name offers and interest. But wait, he’s from Philly and not New Jersey, so how would this help in-state recruiting? Philadelphia is obviously close to N.J., and there are a lot of talented teams in South Jersey, and Johnson knows a lot of other players. And his message by committing to Rutgers speaks loud and clear to Jersey kids. It says he believes in Schiano, and the home-state kids should as well.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Schiano has been recruiting well since taking over at Rutgers again, but the problem is the state of New Jersey, and in many of the same ways the state of Pennsylvania, is getting raided by elite national programs. So Johnson’s recruitment, while important, is not going to sway a ton of kids to the Scarlet Knights. Winning will, but Rutgers plays in the Big Ten, so putting together big seasons will be far more challenging than when Schiano did it during his first tenure. The top player in New Jersey went to Ole Miss last recruiting cycle. Stanford, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State and others go into the state all the time to steal talent. Only two of the top 30 players in Pennsylvania in 2021 signed with Rutgers. Johnson is a nice early addition, but he probably won’t lead to other top-notch players following him.
3. Travis Etienne should be the first RB picked in the NFL Draft.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. He could be RB3 and not RB1. Najee Harris is my top guy, and I’m starting to fall in love a bit with both Javonte Williams and Michael Carter from UNC the more I look back. Etienne is excellent in space, but this is a strong group at the top and it will depend on how he runs. If he doesn’t pop a great 40 time, he could be passed by fellow ACC backs who run with a bit more power.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Harris is the best running back in this draft class and he could be a more elusive and athletic Derrick Henry, but Etienne is definitely No. 2 and passing on him for one of the North Carolina running backs would be a mistake. On 686 carries at Clemson, Etienne finished with 4,952 yards and 70 touchdowns, blowing away Harris’ numbers with the Crimson Tide. A little of the shine came off Etienne this season, but as a sophomore and junior he was absolutely phenomenal and averaged around 8 yards per carry. He is definitely a first-round talent.